Heavenly made chocolates and caramels in Brittany – Meanderings through France n° 160
By Annick Dournes & Frederic de Poligny
In 1977 Henri Le Roux had a simple yet brilliant idea, make a toffee using salted butter. He thus created a now worldwide known and loved candy: the addictive salted butter caramel. Often copied but never equalled his famous Caramel au Beurre Salé or CBS is an international success. But Henri Le Roux house also makes wonderful chocolates combining cocoas and flavours from the whole world… and sells them to all gourmets throughout the planet.
Ever since his childhood Henri Le Roux was raised in a “sweet” atmosphere. His father Louis was a renowned pastry maker both in France and abroad. He was thus asked to make a special cake to celebrate Franklin Roosevelt’s election in 1933. Henri was born in Brittany where his father had open his own pastry shop in Pont l’Abbé. He took on his father’s business in 1965 and moved it to Quiberon in 1977. On the very same year he created the salted butter caramel that made him famous. In 1980 his caramel was awarded “best sweet of France” and in 1997 to celebrate its 20th anniversary Henri Le Roux made a 200 kg and 1,860 ft long caramel, the equivalent of 24,000 toffees! Apart from his salted butter caramel Henri Le Roux also created caramels with almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts. Others are chocolate covered. So good!
In parallel Henri Le Roux developed a wide range of chocolates, always looking for quality and authentic flavours. Once again his creations have been awarded many times and the very serious French Chocolate Crunchers Association awarded him again and again as a must among the very best and inevitable French chocolate makers. There are today over 80 different sweets available in Henri Le Roux’s shops. When time to retire came in 2006, Henri sold his shops and “savoir faire” to Yoku Moku, a Japanese company making high quality cookies with which he had built friendship and mutual appreciation. But the caramels and chocolates are still handcrafted in Brittany with carefully selected cocoas from Vanuatu, Sao Tome, Colombia, Madagascar…
Today Julien Gouzien, who was also born in Brittany, is the chocolate and caramel chef and creates new sweets every year. His latest creation is a box of six different chocolates inspired by a Mediterranean spirit. “Anatolia” blends an almond and hazelnut praliné with Turkish wild aniseed and lemon peel. “Calabria” is a fine ganache with bergamot. “Carvi” is a mix of French almonds, hazelnuts from Piedmont spiced with caraway. “Catania” takes you to Sicily with its ganache infused with blood orange, while “Tanger” is infused with mint. Last but not least “Damas” combines a pink grapefruit jelly and a jasmine tea ganache. Tasteful and surprising!
Christmas will soon be there and chocolates will be inescapable. To help you wait for this long awaited time Henri Le Roux house proposes an exceptional Advent calendar designed like a Parisian street with its typical Haussman style buildings and Eiffel Tower. Each window hides a new sweet and with every passing day you will discover a wide range of Henri Le Roux’s delights: all kinds of chocolates, caramels, fruit jellies, marshmallows, mini-chocolate bars and many others sweet surprises.
All these delights are available in the four Parisian shops and the two Breton ones (you’ll find their addresses on the website). But you can also order them online at www.chocolatleroux.eu. Your order will be delivered at your door in just a few days. Special orders for Christmas should be placed in advance but will allow you to chose the date of delivery.
Text ©Annick Dournes
Photos courtesy of Henri Le Roux House.